Sourcing Trireme Lumber

From Greek Reporter:

Scientists from Greece and the US believe they are close to tracing the wood from which ancient triremes were made.  The scientists are searching in Pieria (one of the regional units of Greece, located in the southern part of Macedonia, in the Region of Central Macedonia) for the Macedonian fir and the pine tree of Olympus and Pieria, locally known as “liacha.”

According to Aristotle’s successor Theophrastus, this tree was used for the laborious process of constructing paddles and ships. Prints on the earth of this particular kind of wood, which has no knots but great resistance to salt water, were discovered during the archaeological excavations that started in 2003 in Methoni of Pieria.

This fact, after the announcement of the results of the findings at a scientific conference that took place in Thessaloniki in 2011, mobilized scientists from different sectors in Greece, Los Angeles in the USA, Britain and Ireland, who have ever since been working together to discover pure pieces of wood from the 8th century at the excavation site in Methoni that will continue its work in 2014.

“At this moment a big cooperation is in process, which started at the end of 2011 between the 27th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquities, which is based in the capital of Pieria, Katerini, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and the Archaeology Department of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),” the President of the Philology Department of AUTH, Ioannis Tzifopoulos, explained.

He also explained that on the American side, the Greek-American professor John Papadopoulos, who for many years has led excavations in Toroni of Chalkidiki, in Epirus, as well as in Albania, shows particular interest in the object of the excavations in Methoni of Pieria.

Olympias at the Olympics Scuttled

Ελληνικά: Η Τριήρης "Ολυμπιάς" Engli...
Ελληνικά: Η Τριήρης "Ολυμπιάς" English: Trireme Olympias of the Hellenic Navy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The incipit of a piece from the Financial Times (tip o’ the pileus to Adrian Murdoch for sending it our way):

It was supposed to be a glorious display of British pomp combined with a potent symbol of ancient Greek strength.

Under top secret plans, London Olympic organisers came up with the idea of carrying the Olympic flame aboard the replica of Olympias, an ancient Greek warship that showed its mettle at the Battle of Salamis against the Persian empire in 480BC.

The plan was for 170 of Putney’s finest rowers to ferry Olympias, a 70-ton wooden trireme, down the River Thames on July 27, the day of the opening ceremony.

The Olympias would start its journey from Tower Bridge, after receiving the flame from the Queen’s Jubilee barge, and meander down the river towards the packed Olympic stadium in Stratford.

From there, the world would watch the flame being carried into the stadium, then lit, to mark the start of the London Olympics.

But in a tale more fitting for the Olympic TV satire Twenty Twelve, the plan has been scuppered because organisers were worried the spectacle of Olympias along the Thames would prove too popular, causing a security risk that might even see people throw themselves off bridges.

And for good measure, the decision has sparked off a diplomatic row with the Greek government and enraged the Greek navy. […]

If you click through, they’ll require you to register … it’s free, though. Hopefully this story gets picked up in more detail by papers not behind registration … Whatever the case, I was kind of looking forward to seeing the Olympias row up the Thames with the flame; hopefully organizers will reconsider this — the spectacle’s the thing!